Americans Getting Heavier: Report

About every fourth American child between the ages of ten to seventeen is overweight. This is the finding of a new report which has stated, "The rate of childhood obesity more than tripled from 1980 to 2004. Approximately 25 million children are now eithe

Americans Getting Heavier: Report
About every fourth American child between the ages of ten to seventeen is overweight. This is the finding of a new report which has stated, "The rate of childhood obesity more than tripled from 1980 to 2004. Approximately 25 million children are now either obese or overweight."

Released this week by the Trust for America's Health, the report, 'F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, 2007', says that incidences of overweight are extremely common now in the south and the southwest.

This, the group's fourth annual report was the first to rank states on obesity among children as well as adults. Data from the latest National Survey of Children's Health, which had been conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was analyzed for the report.

The report says that there are probably 25 million overweight or obese children in the U.S. The percentage of obese children in the different states varied from a low of 8.5 percent in Utah to a high of 22.8 percent in Washington, D.C. It was noted that eight of the 10 states with the highest percentages of obese children were in the South. The states in the south with the heaviest children are West Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, and New Mexico.

Overall the report found that children in Virginia and Maryland were slightly slimmer than their counterparts elsewhere. 14% of those between ten and seventeen are overweight in Virginia and 13% of them are overweight in Maryland.

Adults are obese too. In spite of Americans spending $35 billion a year on products related to diet and slimming services, and with the public and growing more and more aware of the dangers of illnesses due to obesity, people are still putting on weight.

The report pointed out that not even one single state was able to account for a fall in obesity rates for the year 2006. In fact, twenty two states revealed an increase for the second consecutive year.

Mississippi was at the top of the list with 30 percent of its residents being obese. It also earned the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of adult obesity for the third year in a row and ranks highest in cases of adult hypertension and physical inactivity.

Mississippi was followed by West Virginia and Alabama in the second and third places.

Other states with 25% or more of its adults being obese are, among others, Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan and Oklahoma.

Jeffrey Levi, the report's co-author and executive director of the Trust for America's Health, says the government must treat this trend as an epidemic, dangerous to the health of Americans and must organize a national plan for combating obesity.. Obesity rates ranged from more than 17 percent in Colorado to more than 30 percent in Mississippi West Virginia ranks highest in the combined statistic, with nearly two-thirds of its adults obese or overweight.

The report also stated that the fallout of this obesity epidemic is already making its presence felt. Hospital charges in 1999 at $127,000,000.00 related to obesity cases in children from six to seventeen was three times more than it had been in 1979 when it had been calculated at $35 million. Overweight children run the risk of contracting high blood pressure, heart disease is and what was originally known as adult onset diabetes.

"There's been a breakthrough in terms of drawing attention to the obesity epidemic," said Levi. "Now we need a breakthrough in terms of policies and results. Poor nutrition and physical inactivity are robbing America of our health and productivity."

Programs such as "Shape Up" and "Step Up to Health" have had minimal success so far and there is no solid proof that the corrective measures taken by both the local organizations and by the state have had any effect as yet. Nine of the state's marked at having the heaviest kids, for example, have been introducing products such as the tracking of students for strictly body mass index, improved nutritious lunches and limiting the availability of junk food in the area.

Levi believes that individuals need help of the government to sort the problem out.

In the case of children, Levi called for moves such as restoring physical education and recess in schools, escalating the screenings of children's weight and height and reporting results to parents among others.

For the general public, Levi reasoned, "People can't exercise personal responsibility in a vacuum. If you're telling people to eat healthier food and there are no grocery stores in the neighborhood; if you're telling them to be more physically active, and they live in poor, unsafe neighborhoods or in suburban neighborhoods with no sidewalks, then you've created an environment that doesn't make it possible for people to exercise that personal responsibility. That's where government plays a role."

Ryan Jones
Last Mod: 29 Ağustos 2007, 00:49
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